Christmas letters are not my usual message this time of the year.  I'm hoping you're  interested enough in our well being to read on so I only have to write this one time.  Since my  breast cancer surg. in July, I've finished my first series of chemo.  I had a port implanted in my  chest wall for easy access, so glad I did.  I'm good, not much nausea or other side affects.  The  chemical taste keeps me from enjoying my coffee most days, hot tea tastes best.  I was doing  pretty good at exercising until I picked up a nasty cold, it bit me in the butt again.  Dr. gave me  meds, sent me home to bed, so I went.  I think I made it swimming one time then I found  blisters on 2 toes, looked like I had a kidney bean peeking out beside my little toe on my left  foot and one at least the size of a silver dollar spread under the big toe on the right foot. So, no  walking , no swimming.  I joined a Tai Ji class, ha ha.

          Susan ended up shaving my head.  My hair wasn't falling out in clumps but I was  shedding like dog!  Everywhere! Mom bought me a cute hat and we've been using it as a pattern  and now I match the seasons.  I cut, she sews.  Ashley & Susan now have winter ones, too.   They're so cute!  I picked up a wig, it's free at Amer. Cancer Soc.  It's not hot but I like my hats  better.  I shave my head twice a week, some keeps growing and half my eyebrows are gone.

          It's been the hardest on Mom since Dad died in April, now this worry.  Susan drives  in most weeks to help Mom with all of the chores, etc.  Dad always did.  We just miss him so  much.  Smoky Joe keeps her company but he's not much of a lap cat.   She's  bowls twice a week,  then some go out for dinner afterwards.  She plays cards once a month, 4 other ladies, eat  lunch out, too.  Our church shows a movie at 4pm on Wed.  Groups are busy with other  projects so they  stay and eat dinner.

          So, I'm back working 40 hr/ wk at AFFINA to have my FMLA leave for my cancer  appt.  Bus driving is on hold now so I'm riding a desk instead of driving a bus.  Getting grief  from a plumber or a homeowner about their Delta faucet or riding herd on 60 kids?  Toss up?   My work bldg. is half in the ground, it's always cold.  I wear sweaters & flannel shirts to work.  I  keep a blanket in my desk if you can believe that!  Me cold??

          I had a MUGA scan last week, heart needs to beat more efficiently, due to spiking  blood pressure per Dr.  Imagine that!  I'm on new meds.  As I write this, I'm starting my 2nd  series of chemo 4 hrs.  I'll be here once a week for 3 mos.  I'm in D pod, 2nd floor overlooking a  good size,  man made lake.  I'll have radiation about April followed by a dose of Herceptin  every 3 wks. for ayear thru my port.  There are a few brave birds at the open places of the lake.   I can see a couple fields of corn they haven't harvested yet.  It's been a rainy year, grass is still  green.
          Susan's at the U of I, this is the closest to Peoria she's lived since 1980.  She's living in  a 1940's grad student housing and not real happy about it.  It's old, cramped and either cold or  hot.  Since she retired from the army about 4 yrs. ago, she's moved about 6 times.  She didn't  like the classes at NIU where she had the NEW, great, big  apt.  She's taking labor labor  relations/human resources classes.  She's debating the merits of half dozen places to move to  when she graduates in 12/2010. They include NM, front line CO and Portland, OR.  Since I'm  the  " J " personality type, I've made lists of pros/ cons.  Any feedback from any of you will be  appreciated.

          Ashley's looking for a new job.  She can get a job where I work, we both know 2 mgr.  there from her prev. jobs. Heather is the trainer for our McDonald's acct., maybe less stress?   She is hoping for non- customer work instead.  Abby, our calico, keeps her company all day.   It's nice to come home a few days a week to find dinner ready.  We seldom work the same shift  so seldom eat at the same time.
It's turned cold the past couple of weeks.  So, we're moving forward, one foot in front of  the other.  It's kind of like eating the elephant:  one bite at a time (I love that expression!)  As  usual it's not all bad but not all good either.  Take care of yourselves, too, we are.